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15.06.2005 General News

Programme to reduce child/maternal mortality begins in July

GNA

Wa, June 15, GNA - The Netherlands has channelled five million dollars through the Health Fund towards the reduction of infant and maternal mortality in the country.

This was made known when a four-member team led by Mrs. Dorothy Rozga, Country Director of UNICEF including Dr. Jan Vanderhorst, Health Advisor of the Netherlands Embassy in Ghana, paid a courtesy call on Mr. Ambrose Dery, the Upper West Regional Minister at Wa.

UNICEF will provide technical support to the programme, which is expected to take off in the region in July, this year. The Upper West Region has the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the country.

Mr. Rozga said child survival and safe motherhood activities, especially the provision of impregnated bednets at the community and facility levels were all included in the package. She called for the involvement of local communities, the Red Cross and other non-governmental organisations in the programme, which is expected to take care of about 120,000 under five children in the region. Mr. Dery said a regional forum would be organised before the commencement of the new child survival programme for all stakeholders in the region to bring out strategies that would be used to propel the programme to success.

He tasked the regional health authorities to draw from the experience of the Upper East Region whose accelerated child development strategy was a huge success.

Mr. Dery noted that the region lacked the requisite infrastructure to reduce infant mortality saying, "The Wa Regional Hospital, which is the only referral health facility in the region, is not even qualified to be called a good district hospital."

Dr. Erasmus Agongo, the Regional Director of Health Services assured the team that the necessary groundwork would be prepared to enable the programme to begin smoothly.

He said there were adequate bednets in the system but the impact was not being felt due to lack of extensive monitoring and expressed the hope that the problem would be addressed during the implementation of the programme.

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